Strolling through the nearby fields of Michell’s Farm Market in Central Saanich under a blue, cloudless sky that promises a rain-free night of trick-or-treating later on Halloween Eve, Robyn DiMartino, her husband Gioacchino, and their four children are looking, not surprisingly, for some pumpkins.
But this Sunday morning trip to one of (if not the most) popular pumpkin patch in all of Greater Victoria is hardly the Halloween equivalent of the last-minute Christmas shopper. Oh no. For the Saanich family, Halloween is not just any day on the calendar. It is the climax of a month-long celebration that brings the family together.
“For our family, we definitely get together, watch Halloween movies throughout the month, pick pumpkins, choose costumes, and trick-or-treat of course,” Mrs. DiMartino said. “Really, it is a family time.”
Seven-year-old Sienna arrived fully dressed as a witch to hunt for pumpkins with her older brother Lorenzo (11) and younger brother Dominic (five) while sister younger Teresa (three) was asleep in the stroller. Her dad could be seen wearing her hat as the morning progressed.
So given the significance of Halloween, one can only imagine the family’s disappointment when trick-or-treating fell through last year out of an abundance of caution. (Health officials last year permitted trick-or-treating but many households forewent traditional activities or modified them significantly).
The DiMartinos for their part instead held a spooky, Halloween movie night and bought candy just for their children on that Oct. 31.
“This year, we are just going to be going to our neighbours and the streets close to us,” said Robyn. “We know the children and they all go to the same school as our children. So we feel somewhat comfortable, but I don’t know — still some hesitation, but a lot bit more comfortable than last year.”
In many ways, this sentiment appears to be prevailing. With fewer restrictions in place this year than last, some familiar pre-COVID Halloween events, including indoor parties, have returned. But public health are also still encouraging members of the public to be cautious in the absence of vaccines for kids under the age of 12. In short, this year’s second COVID Halloween Eve will likely look somewhat familiar to that before the pandemic, but also be different.
DiMartino said the relative return of familiar trick-and-treating excites her younger children. “They want to go (trick-or-treating), they want to see the neighbours and all of the decorations out on the streets. But for my 11-year-old, I think he just wants the candy, no matter how he receives it.”
Lorenzo, for his part, thinks Halloween holds a larger significance. “Halloween is important, because it brings people together.”
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